West Ham United are believed to be preparing an ambitious swoop for Micah Richards following reports that he will not sign a new contract at Manchester City.

The defender has spent his entire career with the Premier League champions but has struggled for first team football over the past couple of seasons due to an unfortunate string of injuries coupled with the excellent form of Pablo Zabaleta.

The 25-year-old had initially expressed a reluctance to leave the club so close to his heart, but is now thought to be looking at alternatives as he seeks to find a way back into the England setup.

Richards' current deal at the Etihad Stadium expires next summer, and Metro claims Hammers boss Sam Allardyce hoping to capitalise with a cut-price move for the full-back, who can also play in the centre of defence.

Allardyce has been charged with the unenviable task of bringing a more entertaining style of football to Upton Park with the aim of qualifying for Europe. He is seeking to strengthen in a number of positions on a limited budget and may see Richards, who has featured for City in European competitions, as the ideal signing - talent and experience at a reasonable price.

However, it will not be that simple - City are reluctant to lose Englishman Richards as they look to fulfil their homegrown quota, particularly as the likes of Joleon Lescott and Scott Sinclair seem destined for the exit door, reducing their already negligible list of home-grown players.

It seems, though, that the player would be willing to force through a move and City would sell at the right place.

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Topics:
West Ham United
Football
Micah Richards
Premier League
Manchester City